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Forging Emotional Resilience, Forgiving Past Wrongs, & Optimizing Your Fitness | Adam Von Rothfelder | Better Man Podcast Ep. 052

Forging Emotional Resilience, Forgiving Past Wrongs, & Optimizing Your Fitness | Adam Von Rothfelder | Better Man Podcast Ep. 052

Men have a tendency to bottle their emotions inside them. Even I struggle with this, especially in my past. But the result of repressed emotions never ends well: It usually means exploding at someone or something who doesn’t deserve it. 

But there’s another way to get through difficult emotions and traumatic events without blowing your lid: 

And today’s guest, Adam Von Rothfelder, is one man who demonstrates another way to deal with your emotions. Adam’s brother overdosed when he was 22, filling Adam with an unrelenting guilt. His father hit him often in his childhood, filling him with an undying rage. 

And yet, he used these traumatic experiences as fuel instead of an excuse. 

First, he became an MMA fighter. Then he opened up his own gym. Now, he owns Strong Coffee, a multimillion dollar coffee business he started from his house. 

Best part? 

Adam forgave his dad, his brother, and himself. He lives each day in a way that makes both of them proud because he pushed through his pain, and came out as a better man. 

Adam and I have an enlightening conversation, particularly when it comes to dealing with—and leveraging—your emotions as a man.

Besides the emotional aspects we talked about, we also discussed: 

  • How Adam forgave his father and started loving him unconditionally again (and how you can do the same if you’ve had traumatic relationships) 
  • Why working out and eating earlier in the day improves your sleep 
  • The real reason our mental health is on a decline (and unconventional ways to improve your mental health) 

And more!

Want to build emotional resilience, forgive past wrongs done to you, and optimize your fitness habits?

Listen Now

The Better Man Podcast is an exploration of our health and well-being outside of our physical fitness, exploring and redefining what it means to be better as a man; being the best version of ourselves we can be, while adopting a more comprehensive understanding of our total health and wellness. I hope it inspires you to be better!

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Watch a Clip From Episode 052

Forging Emotional Resilience, Forgiving Past Wrongs & Optimizing Your Fitness w/ Adam Von Rothfelder

Show Highlights with Adam Von Rothfelder

  • How to channel your aggression so it speeds up the healing process after suffering their traumatic events (6:06) 
  • Why training at 100% effort actually lowers your risk of injury instead of heightening it (10:23) 
  • The “Future Self” mindset shift that helps you heal important relationships that turned sour (even if you haven’t 100% forgiven the other person yet) (16:35) 
  • How to “flip” your nastiest emotions into fuel to succeed at heights you never thought possible (19:58) 
  • Why repressing your anger and letting it fill you with shame makes you see red and erupt at the people around you (and a healthier way to manage it) (28:57) 
  • The “3 Buckets” secret for restoring unconditional love for someone who betrayed or traumatized you (39:39)  
  • How waking up earlier and exercising before work improves your sleep quality more than going to bed early (58:41) 
  • Why working out every hour after 1 pm reduces your REM sleep by an extra 10% (58:59) 
  • The little-known, but wildly effective “Reverse Intermittent Fasting” technique that improves your sleep, boosts your weight loss, and increases your energy (1:00:09) 
  • The “for me, not to me” belief that helps you see obstacles as opportunities instead of hindrances (1:15:26)
  • How stress and sugar literally scar your brain like a scratched CD (and how to better manage your brain and improve your mental health) (1:19:37)

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

  1. STRONG Coffee: Save 15% on instant, nutrient-packed coffee from Adam’s company by using the code ManFlowYoga at checkout. STRONG Coffee has protein, healthy fats, adaptogens, and more to improve your mental, physical, and gut health. Find your new favorite coffee here: https://strongcoffeecompany.com/ 
Episode 052: Forging Emotional Resilience, Forgiving Past Wrongs, & Optimizing Your Fitness - Adam Von Rothfelder – Transcript

Dean Pohlman: Hey, guys, it’s Dean. Welcome to the Better Man podcast. Today I am joined by an old friend of mine, Adam Von Rothfelder. He is a former professional fighter and then a fighter. He has been a celebrity trainer. He is now the CEO of Strong Coffee. I thought he would make a really interesting guest to discuss this, the developments and the self-development and the changes that we go through as just progressing through life.

Dean Pohlman: He’s also a dad, and so that is my intro. So Adam, thank you for joining me.

Adam Von Rothfelder: That sums it up, man. I appreciate the I appreciate the intro and for being on the show. Thank you.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, sure. So you and I met long time probably ten years ago. I should also mention just to like, create just to curate some interest that you are also a model for Versace at some point to time.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Versace model.

Dean Pohlman: Two time Versace model.

Adam Von Rothfelder: That’s and star Of NBC’s show trong, which was also the top inspirational show on Netflix for over three and a half years after NBC cut the show.

Dean Pohlman: Oh, wow. Yeah. I did not know that. Yeah, that’s that’s kind of cool.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So there’s a little bit more hook for anybody who is thinking about, you know, leaving before that before the show got good. So half the.

Dean Pohlman: People listening just open their phone to Google images and they’re they’re looking now anyways. So yeah back when you know back when I met you’s probably ten years ago you were doing things a lot different than you are doing now. I think you had like an overall just the, the overall self brand that I got from you was just like a different person tomorrow, similar to what you’re doing now.

Dean Pohlman: Feel like you’ve gone through, you know, kind of a lot of changes. But one thing I wanted to start just by asking was can you talk about just your transition from being, you know, a a a professional MMA fighter to going like, how do you how do you transition out of being like a professional fighter and then didn’t go into like a nor a normal career or not even in a more normal career, but just a different career?

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, I think what you mean is like, yeah, I mean, how do you go from I mean, how does any, you know, professional athlete, let alone one, that, you know, masters violence in a way and then like a effectively start answering one’s and zero questions and normalizing their life outside of the ring outside of the gym. I mean I lived I lived in the gym and the ring for four years.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I think the big difference between myself and a lot of other professional athletes is that I was always what drove me to be a fighter was not my want to be a professional athlete. I at at one point in my life when I was much younger, that was something I daydreamed about, but it wasn’t something that I really sought, sought after after high school.

Adam Von Rothfelder: When my brother died, when I was 22, and I heard, you know, I heard this ad on that radio, and I went and signed up for this no holds barred kickboxing tournament. And two weeks later, after my brother’s death, I, I fought in this tournament and I, I did pretty well, but I felt better than I did, you know?

Adam Von Rothfelder: So it’s like I didn’t mind that I lost. I liked the positive channel of aggression and me being able to tap into some emotions that I wasn’t feeling around my brother’s passing. A year later, I fought that same tournament and won, and it was at that point that I decided I would start taking training to another level because I hadn’t trained that entire year in between those two tournaments other than just working out.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I had a martial arts background as a child and a gymnast, and I was a soccer player. I was just an athlete. So I think when I my my interest, it was purely my development as a professional athlete was a byproduct of like a cathartic process, right? Like I was healing. And because I was good at this thing and I had a certain desire to be better at anything I did, I became a professional fighter while at the same time having massive interest outside of it.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I was always really into brands and marketing and kind of like looking at it, but something I never studied in any kind of conventional manner. I just felt like I had a strong confidence in what I knew I liked and what I knew I liked. I would then see become like a trend of some sort. So I had a confidence in myself to, you know, live fighting and know that I could do something else because I was really good at getting higher, paid for fights or getting sponsorships or getting other people’s sponsorships and creating decks for people.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And in the transition I took, I don’t think was as, you know, baffling as you know, as it would seem. But like I mean, I just I over the time of development as a professional athlete who always was a fan of performance and fitness and nutrition, I continued my education throughout that entire time, and I leveraged my passion for being in the gym to just becoming a trainer.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And you know, that quickly led to me owning my own gym within the year of, you know, me retiring from fighting and being a trainer and opening up my own space, which, you know, I, I had a plan. I had I had confidence in a unique idea and approach to fitness that I knew less than 1% of the world would even had seen at this point because it was so ahead of its time and I the transition felt really easy for me because I felt really confident in what what I was doing and why I was doing it.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So I you know, when you met me, my whole goal was to take the context of violence out of training like a fighter and moving like one and being able to do to, you know, use your body in a way, but without having to be in a gym that felt, you know, a fighting gym that felt so like barbaric and intimidating to so many people and the conversations that are had, they’re just not really appropriate for most people.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Even still today, you know, like appropriate meaning like you don’t want to really hear about that shit, you know?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Yeah. I’m just think I remember this one thing that you said when I first met you. You talking about CrossFit people that you said CrossFit people are they want to be fighters, but they’re too scared to take a punch to the face.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, totally. Well, I mean, you know, I thought.

Dean Pohlman: That I was.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Ready when my fighting career kind of was right at it’s, you know, it’s would be peak because I got hurt and never really saw my real true potential in the ring.

Dean Pohlman: Did you get hurt as a result of a in a fight or did you get hurt?

Adam Von Rothfelder: It’s always training. Yeah, it’s it’s always training. You always go because you’re not going hard. You end up getting you’re slightly soft and you get hurt, you know. So I yeah, I mean, so anyways, the Yeah. Separated shoulder but like I believe that when I was in L.A. it was maybe the third or fourth CrossFit chain at the time.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I saw these people running the California Chicken Cafe and I was like CrossFit. I was like, What does that sound like? Wholly kind of like fitness thing, you know, and Cross Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Like, I didn’t really, I didn’t really know. I had nobody heard of it yet at this point. Right? So I went up to the guy and started talking to him and he’s like, No man, we do, you know, this, this and this and all this.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I’m like, Oh, that’s that sounds crazy. And I just feel that at the time it sounded like all the training we do. But there competition is like taking that training and then measuring it. Our competition was taking that training and applying it in something that is, you don’t have to measure really because it’s okay. All right. There’s a definitive winner or a loser, you know?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, generally speaking, yeah. When I knocked out Lost.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And that’s, you know, it’s that’s kind of it kind of reminds me a lot of my, you know, because I was a I was a collegiate lacrosse player and that was why I was really interested in fitness, because I loved training. So that like when I was on the field, I would have more strength and more endurance than the other guy, and I’d be able to outlast people.

Dean Pohlman: But, you know, there wasn’t you don’t measure it based and you measure it based on goals, But like, that’s not necessarily that like the more fit person wins at the end of the game. It’s just more who who had better skill, who had a better team total. So so like, that’s interesting to me because I think a lot of the reason why I like being an athlete was because I just really liked working out.

Dean Pohlman: And so it sounds like that’s something similar with you. You just really liked the fit, you liked the fitness aspect of it and that, you know, So it wasn’t a weird transition for you at all.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, no, it wasn’t. I mean, there were obviously parts that were tough, like organization, you know, management of the schedule. I mean, still has never been my my strong suit. I’m somebody who doesn’t work well within a certain set of rules, you know, where I had to really work on myself not being selfish in ways. Because when you are a professional athlete and, you know, a a are a high level collegiate athlete, you kind of are selfish with your with your time and with your energy.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And, you know, there be days and I just didn’t want to like, train somebody. So I just I’d be like thinking about calling in sick so I could go work out myself, you know? And it was and I mean, that was, you know, that was me in my youth. And then, you know, and then I had kids and then I had a whole nother reason of why I was doing it.

Dean Pohlman: It was. Yeah. When is when did you have kids? How old are you?

Adam Von Rothfelder: I was 20. I was 30, 31, 3011.

Dean Pohlman: So that’s the question. How old am I now? I ask.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I saw three times one minus nine. Yeah, I was 32 years old.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. Yeah, cool.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, but I was I went through a, you know, my transition to I mean I’ll, I’ll, you know, mention was, you know, I almost left out a pretty big part of the, of the, of the process is that when I left fighting, you know I was, I was kind of forced to leave fighting in a way because of my shoulder.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And you know what the why I was doing it right. But then I did like being a professional athlete, like I did enjoy the fruits of my labor when I hurt myself. I moved out to California and I had been there for about six months and I got a text message while filming a commercial, This national commercial that I booked that my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So when I moved back, a big reason of why I moved back was to, you know, take time to like, try to heal past relationships that, you know, me and my dad had big relationship issues. And so the transition was kind of caught up in really, you know, I just didn’t have time to even think about what was happening.

Adam Von Rothfelder: The fact that I gave all this up. I remember a friend of mine only about seven months after giving, you know, like giving up, like leaving fighting was in town in Milwaukee for a fight. And we went I went to go train with him and warm up. And then I had felt like years already, you know, just like getting in the cage with them and banging with them.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Because I felt like in that seven months, the transition I took was, you know, 180 degrees of what’s important to me. You know, And beating somebody up wasn’t really important to me anymore. It didn’t even my energy did not want to, you know, supply for that purpose. So it was you know, it was focused on the time that this new relationship that I was in, you know, my business, you know, which is my wife now, 12 years later.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And the fact that my dad is dying, you know, dying from leukemia.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many questions that came up as just sitting there in those few minutes talking with you. And the first thing I want to ask, because I, I do want to get into, you know, if you don’t mind, I would love to talk about how do you go about addressing healing your relationship with your dad.

Dean Pohlman: I think that’s something that many of us can benefit from, and I think most of us wait until it’s too late.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And yeah, then we’ll all wait until it’s too late. Like if you if there’s one thing you take from this podcast is don’t let Petty shit and even like not, you know, bigger shit really get in the way of like what the bigger thing really is, which is you know, the, the fact that like unconditional love and not ever wanting to hold on to the regrets that you could have in some point later in life where it’s you know, if not for them that you’d heal a relationship like do it for your future self so that you do not feel the pain of of past trauma that has gone on, settled on, said, you know,

Adam Von Rothfelder: unresolved in any manner. You know, when I moved back from California, I had been living away for years and I got a job right away and started working and my dad’s cancer was progressing and I started my own business. And when I started my own business, I hired him as a maintenance man. And so what I did is I flipped.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I flipped the hierarchy, you know, like I changed the dynamics of the relationship. He wanted a part time job because he was retired and he wanted to get out of the house. So I paid him, you know, $18 an hour to come and, like, fix shit at the gym or, like, run errands for me.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And that gave us an ability to have a conversation where he didn’t see me as, like, under him for being my dad, like, the way he was raised. So it’s like I was now kind of, like, above him because he had to ask me a question, you know, or he’d be like, Hey, can I use the card to go buy this and this and this?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Sure, you need to use my money to go buy your things right for, you know, it’s like this very big shift in our relationship that was fabricated by me. And I mean I would break a shelf at my gym just to make him come and work on it. So he had something to do, you know? And all I like, I’d be like, Oh, my dad hasn’t been here in two weeks and I’d like kick a hole in the drywall and he’d have to, like, come in patches, right?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, I don’t know what you guys are always fucking doing in here. Fucking, you know, I had to and I swear to God, I mean, it was just me breaking shit at times. I mean, there was a couple of things I would go broke and from other people, but I can. I can count at least five separate occasions that I broke things over the course of the two years that he saw me grow my business from an 800 square foot studio to a 10,000 square foot gym in downtown in downtown Milwaukee.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And, you know, he was I was very driven in a lot of ways to succeed in this gym because he’s I always if anything, I also just really wanted him to kind of in one way eat shit, like eat crow about where I would be in my life if I didn’t do things a certain way, right. And be proud of me at the same time.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. Like I wanted that because I really never got that from him. I always felt like I could have been better or different, you know, just like always. So it was it was interesting seeing how much interest he took in me being a local business owner and growing. And, you know, he would call me up when he saw something in the news about a new gym franchise moving in like near my area or, you know, whatever.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I’d be like, cool that. I’m like, I’ll fuck him up, don’t worry. You know, and, and, you know, the gym drenched. I mean, grew to be, you know, Milwaukee at the time, like Milwaukee’s hottest gym. I mean, if there was like, the dopest nightclub, you know, that would be like of gyms, that would have been the one in my city for years until I, you know, shut it down when I was just when, you know, when it really didn’t match like the passion and the direction and beliefs of like how I wanted to stay fit anymore.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So I was you know, it was really just like owning a business for me. If I’m going to do it, I better fucking love it. Like, really love it because like, I don’t want to work, you know? And that was like, M is funny. I mean, the gym was successful, you know, we were we had hundreds and hundreds of members and it was just like, Now I’m done.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I don’t want to do this anymore.

Dean Pohlman: MM And so you had the gym for how long before you were just like.

Adam Von Rothfelder: About five years.

Dean Pohlman: Five years?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Was it, did you, would you just get sick of running the gym day to day or like what? Why wouldn’t you just turn it over to somebody else?

Adam Von Rothfelder: You know, there was two things. One, it I did DMC and that was the day that I kind of realized that I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing because my own personal fitness was very different at that point from what I was teaching at drench where and I knew what I was doing for my own personal fitness, these people’s skill level and strength and just like will and desire to do what I was doing would not happen.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like maybe like a third of them would convert.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And it was like after spending all my time with like IDO portal and doing a lot of movement that I just altered the way I moved and changed and shifted through my training as an evolution of, you know, injuries and age your goals. You know what, what really do I define as being strong, right? And I found myself pigeonholed and heavy kettlebell swings and grueling sprinting and T-Rex workouts that were, you know, it was just like, that’s like what everybody wanted.

Adam Von Rothfelder: They wanted me to fucking murder them. Yeah, I just kind of was like, I was done murdering people because, like, really, I wanted to create and I felt like I was just constantly just beating the shit out of people, but like, that’s what they fucking wanted.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: No, keep me like I want a.

Dean Pohlman: Big portrait in their workouts.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And believe me, I use a lot of intelligence in my training to limit the actual, like, possibility of destroying anybody in the five years of drench, we had one injury in the gym the entire time, right? You know, it was pretty amazing. And I mean, one member in our entire gym ever got hurt in the five years you know, is like.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So we for me, it was just I wanted to create more and I wanted to do more. And I and my dad had now passed. You know, my daughter is, you know, one years old. We’re actually having another kid at this time. And I was just like, you know, this is just not who I am. And if I’m going to be like my best self, like, I got to get rid of this thing that’s weighing so heavily on me and I, I at the same time found out, coincidentally, that my business partner had been skimming some money off the top.

Dean Pohlman: Oh.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So I just said, fuck it. And I emailed every member and I said, Hey, I’m done. And I just let my person who was investor at the time just kind of eat shit with the rest of like any loss on like any of the investment and equipment that we had sitting in that space. And I just let them deal with that kind of like, fuck you deal with the whole fucking thing.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, I’m just I’m out.

Dean Pohlman: Wow. So first thing that, that I’m thinking of and I’m just going to mention this, but then I want to go back because I have like some other questions I want to ask. But the first thing I’m thinking of when you’re saying this is most people are not prepared or they’re just their bodies are not appropriate, their fitness levels are not appropriate for a lot of what they’re seeing in commercial fitness, like for CrossFit, for example.

Dean Pohlman: And it sounds like what you were doing, you know, it wasn’t CrossFit, but maybe it wasn’t. It was intensity wise, it was level with CrossFit.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Maybe CrossFit was couldn’t even do what we were doing. Yeah, we would have they were so intense and like, but it was like unilateral, bilateral. I would combine like hypertrophy with plyometrics and like so I mean everybody was just fucking gas or we would have like a couple CrossFit to show up and they’d be like, Dude, they’re like, they’re like, I know I’m not clean in 250, but I’m, I’m, I am fried, you know?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah. And, but it was all like hard style kettlebell training that I’ve been doing for 12 or 15 years at the time. Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. But, and, and it is to say that this is stuff that a lot of people want to do and they imagine that this is the way to work out. But for 90% of people, this is not appropriate. So like what you’re seeing in like what you’re seeing on Instagram, what you’re seeing on whatever you’re seeing, like people working out and thinking of how athletes work out, that is appropriate for athletes, but that is not appropriate for, you know, where you’re going to go, who doesn’t have who spends 10 hours a day sitting at a desk, you know?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, because if you’re going to train that hard, you have to also recover that hard. Right. And professional athletes at least do the recovery aspect of of of that side of the business where it’s like enthusiasts do not Ryan like they come in for the meet and fucking potato’s like it’s like it’s all about the workout you know less than 30% of people that actually workout follow a diet and less than 10% of them actually have functional recovery protocols that they apply to their weekly training of any manner.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right? So, I mean, that’s such a sub niche of individuals that, you know, it’s just Yeah, training that hard, that intense all the time. Like you don’t know what their sleep is like. You don’t know what their heart rate variability. I don’t know what their I don’t know what their hormone panels look like. I don’t know any of that shit.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And the smarter I got, the more I was against so much of what I was doing, even though I knew what I was doing, was that like the higher level of intelligence of what how you could deliver that psychologically palatable workout, Right? Because that’s what people want. They want to like, beat. They’re like they have this trigger in their head that says, I must be dying.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And that’s the only thing that will taste good that you have them doing fucking neck circles and thoracic slides and shit. And they’re like, Give me the out of here, I’m out and go have a martini, you know? So it really it was an interesting transition, you know, myself. I mean, I opened up another gym after I shut that gym down and it was all based around, you know, conscious movement and, you know, doing this stuff.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And about one third of the members, you know, that were of Branch joined. And about a year later I sold that gym to the employees that worked there and, you know, just became a celebrity trainer.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, less overhead for sure. So, yeah, I’m curious about, you know, back to fighting. I’m curious about the as you were talking about that you kind of mentioned that fighting allowed you to kind of process some emotions that you weren’t processing. So, you know, I think that we think about anger as being something that’s bad. I know that for me, I used to think about anger as something that was bad.

Dean Pohlman: I tried to repress it. And what ended up happening was it didn’t get out. I was ashamed of it and it would just come out in like, you know, it would just boil over. Suddenly. I’m like, well, I’m like, I am in a rage right now. And something very minor happened. And I realized that for me, like my anger was it was like it was really holding me back by not expressing it.

Dean Pohlman: So I’m curious for you, you know, fighting aggression and you mentioned like that being helpful for grief. What was your experience with that? Why do you why do you think that was helpful?

Adam Von Rothfelder: You know, it wasn’t because I was overly aggressive or something. It was more it was like a balance of between the fact that I had I had some anger, some displaced anger from my brother dying, you know, my brother and, you know, some details about my brother dying or I mean, he died of a drug overdose and he died in my room.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So when I think about the fact that I was supposed to call him back that night and I didn’t, I had a lot of guilt. And so I also at the same time, didn’t feel a certain level of, like, sadness or pain for losing my brother. It was, you know, it just was like hidden behind a lot of layers of other emotions and confusion, different things, psychological stuff.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like I never actually saw his body.

Dean Pohlman: Hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: That like, provides like a certain level of, like, closure for people. So when I was fighting, I was seeking like, like mail on mail, like bonding, like affection, like, and emotional, like sharing in a way, through the fact that we’re probably both angry, troubled people in some manner. Because, like, I’ll tell you what, like, nobody fucking normally, like, gets in a ring and starts fighting, you know, and like, that’s not their, you know, believe me, Like, you had a you had an anger issues, but you still played lacrosse.

Adam Von Rothfelder: You didn’t like put down your stick and say, you know what, I’m just going to go and start joining these, like, smoker fights that they’re having at this my school on fucking Friday nights and just start beating the shit out of people, even though I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I mean, that’s literally what I did.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, I was playing college soccer and I was like, Fuck this, I’m going to go beat the shit out of people. And I haven’t done karate since I was nine years old and I’m now 22 years old, you know? And I mean, like, you know, and it was it was clearly because I had something fucked up going on in my head and I felt like the best way to take care of it was to create pain and resolve conflict through the idea that, you know, fighting has done that for so many for so long.

Adam Von Rothfelder: It just made so much sense.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, fighting really does all a lot of things. You know, people like, say it doesn’t, but it does, you know, I mean, it literally is. The source of conflict resolution is generally a fight in the in the end. Right. Whether it’s with words or fists, you know, And men are just far more familiar with the fist than the war.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yes. Right. So if anybody would ever wonder, like, God, I just never knew that Adam was in that kind of pain, It’s like, well, I don’t know, maybe I. Did you not notice that I went from this super funny, loving, soft, like, you know, outspoken, sensitive type to the guy that’s, like, now, like, in a ring, beating the shit out of people.

Adam Von Rothfelder: It’s like, Yeah, clearly, I went through a shift.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, do you think that do you think that there’s, like, when you’re in a fight, do you think that you’re part of, you know, the ability to tap into, to tap into that aspect of your, your mental, your emotional health? Do you think it’s because being in a fight, it’s just so unrestricted that your emotions like they have no you know like they have no, they have no they have no they have no boundaries.

Dean Pohlman: No, they have no limits. Like if you’re in a fight, if you’re trying to you know, you’re trying to take out the guy in the fight in the ring with you, you can’t like, hold yourself back. So does that being in that like kind of unrestricted or being in that, you know what I’m saying? Kind of that environment, does that help you access emotions that you otherwise wouldn’t?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you’re always told not to feel those things are not to express those things. I mean, the fact of the matter is, is how many times have you said in your life and you don’t have to answer it, but like, God, I would kill that motherfucker or I’d kill that dude or whatever, Right? Well, guess what?

Adam Von Rothfelder: In the ring, you literally get to try. Mm. Thing is, is it’s not that fucking easy when they’re trying to kill you, too.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So what ends up happening is you. You get all of that out of you, and then what you realize is that you don’t want to kill anyone. You just, like, really need to feel something. And maybe even just getting your own ass kicked is the feeling in itself that you needed because everybody has always told you to be so fucking careful.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Don’t get hurt, Don’t do this, don’t do this. Well, that in itself is a fucking experience that teaches you a massive lesson, right? Pain gives you a lot of education, right? It’s whether or not that you have the ability to see it in that way, that it is there for you, not against you, so that you can develop yourself and resolve, you know, greater trauma.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, people are like, Oh my God, that’s so scary that you had a that you fought. Right? And I’m like, you know, what’s even scarier is like my dad when I was six years old, hitting me, right? But being able to fight and beating the shit out of somebody else showed me that I couldn’t have done anything about it when I was a kid.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And but I could do something about it now. And it gives you a certain sense of security to understand that like you’re safe, you know? Yeah, whatever it is, it’s like everybody needs something. And for me, it was a lot of it was like stability and safe safety.

Dean Pohlman: That makes a lot of sense. Like establishing putting yourself literally putting yourself in the arena and showing yourself that I can protect myself. And I don’t have to feel the way that I felt when I was a kid because I know that I can handle myself now. Like that’s that seems really powerful to me.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, they say that people recreate their childhood in there, like relationships and things.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I would love to have my childhood recreated without the violence. Right. Without the fear of of the violence. That said, I often forget that I can fuck somebody up. And but, you know, when reminded and prompted, I do remember very quickly, you know, and it was it’s something that my dad saw my, you know, one or two of my fights.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Mm hmm. And his whole way of talking to me shifted even more so after he saw me being another adult man man’s ass. That was much bigger than me, you know, like in 14 seconds. And this person was a trained fighter, You know, his tone with me and just how he would even approach me was different. It was like I was his boss all the time, not just at my gym anymore.

Dean Pohlman: Wow. That’s I mean, yeah, that’s it’s interesting when you think about, like, your relationship with your dad and how much how much of that is just built upon you’re scared of your dad. Like, I don’t know about you know, I can’t I can’t speak for everybody, but I feel like every every son to some extent, grows up like, scared of their dad, too, to some extent.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, I mean, if you didn’t, then you’re good. Good for your fucking dad, man. Like, Yeah, I mean, shit. Like, if you’re listen, if your dad, if you are not afraid of your dad or you are not afraid of your dad growing up, you should call right now and tell him thank you for being a good dad like, because there are very few conversations that I have that the men I’m around that are tough, strong man, strong men that were scared shitless of their dad I mean, I knew my dad was coming to beat my ass when I heard his change in his pocket jingling running up the stairs and it was like, prepare for

Adam Von Rothfelder: battle. Like, I like instantly was like, okay, I’m going to close the door. El Greco, give me a second to like, you know, it was so so when I when I think about what I think about that, I mean it was fighting was the only option. I had when, you know, because it was like it was something I already was a fighter.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So actually just getting in the ring and just doing it and getting paid and notoriety and, you know, that was a no fucking brainer.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Nobody has ever hit me harder than my has ever hit me in my entire fighting career, you know? Yeah, that that’s a fucking fact. Yeah. My £260 dad rocked me when I was 12, 13 years old, far greater than any full grown man did when I was in my twenties.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s a pretty sizable gap there. So like, how did you get to this point that, you know, earlier in the discussion you talked about having unconditional love for your dad. What did that mean, like in terms of your actions, in terms of how you thought about your dad? Like, I think it’s easy to think about like I think it’s easy to say, you know, we that we should have unconditional love for the people around us.

Dean Pohlman: Right? That’s easy to say. But what did that actually mean for you when you acted out or believed it?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, I mean, so I look at somebody in three pieces, right? I look at their heredity, I look so their genetics, I look at their experiences that were on the outside of them. So education, you know, the people that were in their lives. And then I look at like self-education, the life that they created for themselves and the experiences that they learn by.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So as and that’s something that I came to a realization at, like at a much younger age, just because of some books I read at.

Dean Pohlman: A Yeah, I was going to ask, where did that come from?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Most Feldenkrais actually Awareness Through Movement was a book I read when I was maybe 22, 23 years old, 24, something like that. And believe me, there was a time that I would have hit my dad in the head with a hammer and wished him dead, you know, with the way he would come at me. But through losing my brother and through psychedelics and, you know, self-discovery of like what I was really made out of getting into a ring and living out on my own.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And, you know, I was the only one of my family that’s ever moved away. Hmm. Right. Like everybody lives within 10 minutes of my parents, who lived within 10 minutes of my parents still does. You know, I lived in four different states and haven’t lived near there in a long time for any type of consistency. So when I look at my dad in these three parts, I look at his dad was a total fucking asshole who didn’t, you know, who barely survived the Holocaust and was just an angry person that raised sons and, you know, put them against each other all the time in which my dad felt very little value.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Probably have felt consistently scared and undermined, you know, with the way that my my grandpa was, you know, iron fist, hardnosed fucking German and and then I look at, like, his experiences, you know, like getting him my dad getting kicked out of school or like these different things that like he went through.

Dean Pohlman: Mom.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And him raising, you know, and then my brother being like addicted to drugs at a young age and getting in all this trouble, you know, who’s 13 years older than me? So I could put aside a lot of things that my dad said or did to me based off of his fear of his past experiences versus like the actual experience that we’re having.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So that was how I did it. And I looked at him for the good qualities that he had. And I looked at him for the bad qualities as he had as good lessons for me.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. So, yeah, it was you know, there are things about being a father that I wouldn’t have known were completely off the table if I wouldn’t have have had experienced them. You know, So and then there are things that my dad that I’ve seen my dad do that has made me admire him an incredible. Where it’s like his work ethic.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And ability to continue to wake up every day and continue to provide for, you know, a family, no matter how angry he was at, you know, whatever. Mm hmm. Or I was, you know, psyche was. I mean, my dad was famous for having a fever, you know, bundling himself up in, like, sweat pants, in a hoodie, slamming a hot toddy and sleeping on the floor for 3 hours with, like, heaters on him, sweating it out, waking up, having a normal temperature and rehydrating and going and working third shift, you know, And like, my dad was so foreign to the idea of calling in sick that the only two times I had ever seen him be

Adam Von Rothfelder: sick, he had to have my mom call work for him. Mm hmm. Because he was, like, nervous to call in sick. Mm hmm. You know, and that didn’t happen until much later in his life, which, you know, probably was some pre signs of some, you know, heart diabetes stuff that, you know. And then cancer eventually.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So what what gave you that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Answer your question about the unconditional love like being able to love somebody that you know.

Dean Pohlman: Hurt. Yeah. No it’s awesome because you actually provided like a framework. Like you mentioned the, the genetics, the experiences and the self-education. You know, you, you actually had a process in place. And my question to that is, what prompted you to have the awareness to do that? Because most people don’t actually take the time to think about these things.

Dean Pohlman: Most people are living their lives reactively. They don’t sit and think about things. They don’t plan things out in advance. They don’t reflect on their beliefs and why they have them and should they change them. And so for you to have these thoughts when you’re like in your early twenties to shift from, I hate my I, you know, I don’t know if you hated your dad, but whatever.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I said, I hated him many times before, but but for you don’t even say that word hate because of I think it’s probably one of the worst words in the fucking English dictionary.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I mean, for you to go from that way that you felt about your dad to the way that you you did feel about him in your early twenties takes some pretty massive influence to be able to start thinking differently. Was was it your brother dying that that that led to that change? Was there something else that you also started doing, or was it the fighting too?

Dean Pohlman: Or like what? What all what all prompted that?

Adam Von Rothfelder: On the lighter note, all athletes smoke a lot of weed and get really into like random, full philosophical and alien conspiracy shit. So I just.

Dean Pohlman: I missed out on that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, I will tell you that there were many hours spent in between training camp workouts where we’re just eating food and getting high and watching documentaries and, you know, rabbit holing, right? And that was that was always, you know, I was always down the rabbit hole into something. So I’m sure I picked up pieces of of that, you know, over time.

Adam Von Rothfelder: But I mean, really, you hit the word on the head like when you first started talking, which is just time you know I became they don’t take the time to do those things to dive into that, to look into that. And, you know, taking time is effectively a trade between the things that are important and the things that you deem not important.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And we have a very you know, it’s not that we have little of it, it’s that we waste so much of it and we really don’t know how much of it we actually have. Mm hmm. So at 22, I was given a great gift through losing my brother, which was the recognition and value of time.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I remember, you know, it’s not there anymore, but I had this shot clock that literally within days of my brother passing, that kind of sat in the peripheral vision, like time was always counting down it. But I had no idea how much time was on this clock. Like I couldn’t ever make it out. I’m in the middle of like I’m in the middle of the game, you know, just give me the fucking ball, let me score.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Let me scored the winning basket. Like, I don’t even know if it’s the winning basket, but, like, there was no time left on this clock.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And that is how I made moves. You know, every day was based off of the idea that time, you know, was fleeting. And I wanted to resolve as much as I could. I wanted to learn as much as I could. I wanted to achieve as much as I could. And I. I said certain things as a as a young adult or as a child about being an actor or a model or like all these things and all the shit that I ever said I fucking have done, you know, And I because of what happened to me at 22 years old and being able to truly acknowledge, you know, the shortness of time.

Dean Pohlman: Hmm. Wow. Yeah, I just. This is all really. I mean, I just. I just think it’s awesome that you’re sharing all this, and it’s it’s cool because I think it just reflects really well kind of the goals of this this podcast, which is to just explore, you know, when stuff happens, how do we react to it and how does it make us better?

Dean Pohlman: How do you look at something terrible that happened and, you know, make sense of it? And it sounds like you’ve you know, you’ve had a lot of terrible things happen and you’ve been able to figure out how to grow from them.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So, you know, Mark Manson and the set, the subtle art of not giving a fuck.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: You know, he talks a lot about like, it is not it is not your fault that this has happened to you, but it is your responsibility in every react to it, right? It’s like, No, it is not my fault, you know, that these things have happened. But I just. I could have either chose to be sad and. And and.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And let this somebody, you know, my brother dying like, defeat me. Or I could let it fuel me.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. And I chose that shit. And to be rocket fuel. Right. It gave me and a whole nother level of how hard I could hit someone. It gave me a whole nother level of how fast I can move on the map. I mean, there is a reason that I. I went pro as fast as I did with as limited experience.

Adam Von Rothfelder: It’s because, like, I had my brother, like, in my fucking way. Like, it was a it was a it was a second spirit. Like pushing me that gave me this the the ability and I, I didn’t squander it. And a lot of people, I think, take these awful things that could be turned into just great, great fucking things.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And they squander that energy, you know, and they choose to just wallow in the sadness versus, you know, Yeah, transcend from it.

Dean Pohlman: Well, I think it takes a special type of person to be able to look at it the way that you did.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Any person can be that person. Right. I think that’s the important thing is, is that it does take a special person. But I you know, I don’t want it to be include, you know, exclusive to the idea that have to be a special person. You just have to be that fucking person. Right. And I think the confidence and, you know, confidence and all these things can like a directly associate the idea that you’re going to be that one that’s going to do that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Mm hmm. But, I mean, you know, who would have ever thought that, like Junior, say, our some of these athletes would kill themselves? Mm hmm. You know where it’s like they’re the ones that succeed, that win, that this, that, that, you know, it’s really about making it. Every second you’re faced with a decision and you just have to keep on thinking, How do I move forward with this decision?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like it’s that is this decision taking me forward and and my true to it. Am I authentic to it? Because like in that fact you are then you will just like, continue to grow from this like awful experience. And it is not like suiting you. You will just continue to diminish from this awful experience.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. I want to I want to ask a question that I’m going to shift gears a little bit, but I want to I want to ask for a lot of people who. Exactly. But a lot of people who probably listen this podcast are not athletes, and I don’t think they understand very well like an athlete mindset. And I what I would like for you to, you know, to answer what is what is the experience of an athlete that allows them to have I wouldn’t say better life skills, but what allows them to have you know, I think a lot of people might think about athletes like, oh, they know how to work out, they know

Dean Pohlman: how to train, but what does that translate into for everyday life? Like what are some, you know, some skills, some mindset, some some beliefs that that athletes have just in everyday life as a result of their, you know, experience and training that people might not realize.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Grit.

Dean Pohlman: Grit.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Fuckin grit, man. I mean, I think I think grit is the thing that athletes, you know, you could say dedication and that’s great but grit gets you through the times. That dedication would generally break you, you know, where it’s just like you can show up to practice five days a week, but are you willing to grind, you know, on the off days, on the times that you’re hurt?

Adam Von Rothfelder: It’s like, oh, your arms hurt while I’m working my legs out, I’m looking at playbooks and this and that, right? It’s always pivoting to focus on the idea of staying in, you know, in the game. I think that, you know, obviously if you really, like, break down the psychology of an athlete, it’s you know, they’ve always done more to get more rate like everybody else finishes school, they go home and fucking Cheetos and watch cartoons.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Your waiting a half hour doing homework, waiting for practice to start right like after school. Like there are these things that to show that your ability to go beyond what the normal person is willing to do, to do something that is great, like score a goal, hit a hit is 70 mile, 80 mile, 100 mile per hour fastball.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right? Like, you know, spike spike the winning point in volleyball, like whatever these things are that some athlete is training for ultimately gives them, you know, this unparalleled grit and determination to when they which in essence is like what I’m trying to do with strong coffee, like I’m just trying to win, you know, And that doesn’t mean like beat everybody.

Adam Von Rothfelder: But if that’s what it means, then sure, I’m that’s what I’m trying to do, Right. But like, if we want to, like, stick in this, like, whole woke conscious ideology of, like, there’s room for everybody. Well, then, okay, no, I’m not trying to beat everyone. I am trying to fucking win. So that means there’s going to be a loser and a winner.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. And the way ads work, right, Like the way digital marketing works, you know, the way Amazon works is there’s a winner and there’s a fucking loser. Like the person who pays 23 to $23 to see, like an ad versus the person who will pay $22 to see an ad. The person who paid $23. They’re willing to pay that extra dollar, that grit, that determination, and they’ll get that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: They’ll get that customer right. So it’s like betting on yourself. That’s the other aspect to being an entrepreneur. Being an athlete, you’re willing to bet on yourself If you are not a player that says, Give me the fucking ball when there’s 10 seconds left on it, I don’t want you on my team. I want a team of 30 guys that are going to say, Give me the ball when there’s only 10 seconds left.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I got this shit right because then that means if I delegate every one of them to have their own ability and their position to own that position, I know that every time they have the ball they’re fucking dunking it, right? Versus somebody who’s like, No, man, I’m more of a, a more of an assist guy, you know, it’s like, Oh man, you are not the person for this team, right?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, I am looking for people who want to win, right? Not I want people who want to always be the scoring the winning scorer because like in every department, we’re going to need that person. So I think that those things all are why athletes make great entrepreneurs focus individuals. Maybe not always the best parents. I’ll tell you that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Mm hmm. There’s a lot of selfishness in athletes that is, you know, that exists. And it’s hard for them to remove themselves from because of the vanity of it. But I’ve seen a lot of athletes struggle in parenthood until they accept that they’re a parent and then they fucking rock at it, you know, versus like in the beginning they’re like, this isn’t really for me, you know, I can’t work out like I used to, you know, or like, whatever.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, yeah, That sounds like you might have some personal experience there.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, me personally, I was so excited to have kids. That shit doesn’t bug me. I wake up at five in the morning and work out like a real man. Mm hmm. Right. You know, it’s like. And, like, to be honest with you, I feel that if you’re not working out in the morning before your day starts, you’re already behind.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. Like I am a strong believer in, working out before you get your kids up, right before you open up your phone, before you start looking at emails. Because like, if your goal is like obviously you’ve got your money game covered, you’re doing your set, your responsibilities, but your personal health, if you can’t give that an hour before you go and dive into 8 hours or a half a day’s worth of work before you take a break, your priorities are really backwards in the game of life.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm. Have you always worked out in the morning?

Adam Von Rothfelder: I have, yeah. I have a couple of reasons why. Mm hmm. Other than the fact that it makes you tougher. Yeah. And time management. But sleep. So our greatest tools for sleep are actually how we wake up. And when we work out and when we eat food in the morning and when we see sunlight actually are three very big determinants of our sleep, potential and quality.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So any time after about 1 p.m. that you work out, you’re reducing your REM by roughly 10%. Like every hour pass that time.

Dean Pohlman: Wow.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So when you look at somebody says who works out at 5 p.m., they’re affecting their REM roughly by about 30% reduction in average REM than they would if they worked out in the morning pre noon.

Dean Pohlman: Wow.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, it’s it’s pretty substantial. So if you are somebody who has a weight issues that you can’t seem to lose weight or you have an energy like adrenal issues that you just can’t seem to recover. Mm hmm. And you’re somebody who’s like, I eat, right? I work out every day after work, you know, this and that. Well, it’s because you’re working out every day after work that I would start pointing a finger at of why you’re not getting great sleep, therefore not recovering.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Therefore, your appetite is not right. All these things get way thrown off. Cortisol, stress hormones, you know. So working out in the morning better sleep. I also like to eat breakfast. Right. I believe that intermittent fasting is actually what we should be doing, but I believe that we have it on its head and we have been doing it backwards as an industry this entire fucking time.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And that my goal in 20 for the remainder of 2023, in 2024 is educate people going forward on reverse intermittent fasting, which is why I call it wedding. Funny enough, it’s not actually reverse intermittent fasting. It would actually be regular fasting, but because marketing fucked it all up and people writing books that cater to conventional cycle energy to make the science sound attractive, they needed adoption.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So they made the they made intermittent fasting about eating in the afternoons into the night because it would be it would make it more socially acceptable. The fact of the matter is, is we should be eating breakfast earlier in the day and we should stop eating at around 2 p.m. and break fast at like 6 a.m. making our 12 hour plus fast.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So it’s because by eating breakfast you’re going to start increasing leptin and ghrelin, which you know are a part of sleep. And those are activated again through activity, sunlight and eating foods in the morning. So that will help you balance your sleep better. So the other reasons I just get like I’m such I get so sucked into my work.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: That if I start working out if I start working before working out, I’m just not going to work out that day.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I have put all my energy. Am I am all in night riot. Like I will sit down and do digital ads for 10 hours straight. And my wife literally just slides meals in front of me, you know, And it’s like, that is just the way I am. I get hyper focused because I have to. Because if I don’t, I’m all out.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I can’t just, like, kind of, like, half noodle a fucking day job for 8 hours. Like, no way. I mean, I get fired for that. People will be like, Dude, he tested so well in the interviews, but it’s just like, I just couldn’t noodle some bullshit for 8 hours. I’d like, finish it a day and maybe, like, this was, like, a month’s worth of work.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Hold on a second. You know, I mean, yeah.

Dean Pohlman: That’s mono. I’m curious about, like, now I want to try, you know, because for me, I’ve always been, like, a workout in the afternoon. Guy. I think that’s because of my probably just as a as a high school athlete. Like, that’s when all that all started, right? You go to school in the morning, you whatever. You wait until the end of the day to work out.

Dean Pohlman: And then you have sports after that. And then you go home, do all your homework, fall asleep when you can. Except then I gave and until like 2 a.m.. So that was where I messed all that up. But now I’m like, I’m so used to working out at four or 5:00. I would love to have a morning workout habit, but I yeah, it’s just it’s not, not happening at this point in my life.

Dean Pohlman: Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe another point in my life. Maybe. Maybe once I get past the newborn toddler phases of my children and and they’re sleeping in and the afternoons are more busy. I don’t know. Anyway, I.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Want to get to, like, the fact of like, they’re going to bed at, like, 8:00 and they’re sleeping until six in the morning. It’s just like you just figure out what is the average that they’re waking up at. Give yourself one hour and 10 minutes before that. So it’s like, hey, they wake up every day, roughly 630. Cool.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Wake up at five. Be working out by 515 kids starts crying. It’s probably 638. You’ve been working out for an hour and 15 minutes, you know, and it’s like kids are like fucking clockwork like that. So it’s just like, that’s. That’s like how I’ve done it. Mm hmm. I used to be a you know, I was obviously an after school athlete, so 4:00 window was my favorite window to like the 3:34 p.m. window.

Adam Von Rothfelder: My brain and body were conditioned around that for so many reasons. Yeah. But once I started, you know, working for myself, owning a business, I found that there’s this, like, funny phenomenon that kind of happens when you train people is that your brain is like, do. We’ve been at the gym for like three and a half hours doing shit.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Mm hmm. Like, of course, we’ve worked out like, you don’t have the same desire to work out because you’ve put people through workouts and the way your brain visualizes things. It like also then therefore, has done those things. Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Like you have, you have worked out through just you. What’s the.

Adam Von Rothfelder: It’s like sympathy working out. Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: That’s so that’s like sympathy fitness, right? Yeah. So that would happen. And I’d literally have to convince myself.

Dean Pohlman: By curiously working out. That’s what, that’s the term. Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, like seriously working out. Yeah. Yeah, I Would literally vicariously work out to people and I’d be like, Fuck, I have to convince myself to work out. After training five clients in a row that I did not already work out. And that was actually a hard conversation to have with myself. It’s just like I literally it would be like difficult to be like, No, but I didn’t do anything.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like I actually have to go work out now and I’d be like, Oh, I don’t want to bench. I’ve done bench five times today. You know, it’s it was, it was really a mind fuck. So I knew I had to train early and with this all things and then having kids getting them off to school by you know waking them up at 6 a.m., getting them off to school by seven.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I just find that by the time I got them off to school, my phone’s already ringing because people in New York, you know, are, you know, so then I’m just like, fuck at five in the morning is the time. And, you know, I think that it’s also great because you also are then moving your spinal cord early in the day, which gets your juices flowing.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Brain derived neurotrophic factors, you know, moving quicker, you know, just neurological synapses. I think your posture, your posture will be better throughout the day while post working out because of, you know, intuitive postural engagement that happens is through training and like the the the the benefit that can like follow for hours to come. Yeah. Based off of like feeling those muscles.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So there’s like a lot of different reasons of like why one could stop convincing themselves that working in the afternoon is the stuff.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Plus eating in the morning you can front load all that food and and you know and, and, and backfill all that food. So it’s like you’ve got to work out now you got to eat because you fucking worked out. You’re going to be hungry. I ran eight miles last Wednesday at like 6 a.m.. I came back and I was just starving.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, I literally just ate all day. Made it so easy to eat all my food by like 3 p.m.. I was done eating.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. So you just. You, you said this just now, and it came up kind of just this theme came up repeatedly through our interview. But I wanted to ask you about what do you do to facilitate personal reflection or like, how do you how do you work that into your day? Is it something that just happens, like throughout the day when you know, it doesn’t sound like it’s something that you can just do while you’re working based on your level of intensity you work?

Dean Pohlman: So how do you facilitate that time for self-reflection? Because it sounds like it’s something that you do a lot of. And I’m just curious like, what is your process for that and how do you work it into your, you know, your life.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I was self reflecting while you’re talking to me right now. Yeah. You know, I to be honest with you, I being ADHD, my brain does have an ability to kind of snap into a deep, reflective state while I’m very deep and focus on work, especially when I’m doing creative stuff, not writing, but if I’m designing something, all of a sudden I’ll start staring at a line and I’ll disappear for 10 minutes.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I am like, deep intrinsic thoughts are happening, you know, moves of strong coffee like, how far am I going to run today? You know, what’s, you know, like what’s going on with my relationship with my mom? You know, like, whatever it will come to me that needs to be resolved and reflected on. I do a lot of balance work, which is a ultimate, you know, presence grabber.

Adam Von Rothfelder: You know, it’s like you have to be 100% present to do balancing. And I tend to get a lot of reflection, deep meditative state while doing Slack Line. I spend at least 15 minutes on a slack line a day.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I run first to three miles. I’m telling myself I suck. Next 5 to 6, I’m reflecting on, you know, past stuff and future things, you know, whatever. Because your mind kind of starts to finally escape from your body, you know, at a certain distance that you’re just your body is on autopilot and your brain can exit the conversation.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So I definitely get plenty of plenty of time. I mean, I don’t want it to bounce back to it, but like smoking weed, you know, I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I still do it daily. And that obviously provides a certain sense, an ability to, you know, reflect very quickly. Like if you’re in a space that you’re just brain is inundated with analytical information and bullshit that just doesn’t fucking matter.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, like if you have things that are going on in your life that are distracting and keeping you from presence and reflection and growth, you generally have to ask like yourself, Is there a way that I could even control this thing or change this thing? And if not like, then why am I going to continue to allow it to distract me from everything else?

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, I just I just I just want to jump in right now. And because I think a lot of people who are listening to this podcast are like fifties, 5060s, and I think we might have an outdated thought of just thoughts on marijuana in general, because I have I have friends who work in in cannabis. And this idea that that pot is something or marijuana is something that’s like, you know, I don’t know, whatever you think, if you think that.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Marijuana was to tell them what to think more so yeah.

Dean Pohlman: It’s something it’s it’s yeah, go ahead do you do tell because I, I don’t smoke like it’s.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah I do like it but I think I asked you one time to smoke with me and you were like yeah, I don’t smoke weed. I’m like, oh cool, man. You know, I don’t judge anybody for not what I do. Judges, people who have something negative to say about it. But also I haven’t done the education to understand why they’re saying negative.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Mm hmm.

Dean Pohlman: So, yeah, like, if you if you. If you say smoking’s bad, but you drink four drinks a day, like that’s, that’s. That’s messed up.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, yeah, Obviously your priorities are fucked. Yeah, you’re. You’re not, you’re, you’re just paying attention to what the government is saying, not what like science would actually say. So I mean, cannabis is a great tool for, you know, people, especially with A.D.D. because of the dopamine and serotonin effects that it can, which because I’m ADHD, I have a higher likelihood of norepinephrine and adrenaline being released, my hyperactive disorder.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So therefore marijuana effectively balances my neurochemistry in a way that, you know, they almost need faster cannabis. So, you know, it’s there is a lot of positive properties about it. I don’t condone it for everybody. I am not somebody who’s saying that it’s great for your lungs. There’s, you know, good and bad. I also said that I’m like not smoking as much, which I think is great.

Adam Von Rothfelder: You know, I find that my overall just energy and health feels like way better with a balance. Not smoking at all doesn’t feel great. And it’s not like a dependance thing as it is so much that if I don’t smoke weed, I have anxiety where anybody else in the world would be like, Oh, well, why don’t you just go get anxiety medication?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, no, you know, it’s like I would rather smoke a little bit of weed when I need it than be drugged up on fucking pills all the time, you know, have a suppressed appetite and have liver enzymes that are all fucked up.

Dean Pohlman: Mm hmm.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So I choose it that way. You know, that’s for everybody. But it is for a lot of people. A lot more people smoke weed than people even realize.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. And I think President.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Obama smokes weed. I don’t know what that means, but, you know, I just.

Dean Pohlman: He does.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Most 50 year old, like more liberal people would be like, oh, but, you know, I mean, like, let’s be real. There’s a reason why it’s legalized and all the states that they live. Yeah that in tax money make a lot of money on taxes with it.

Dean Pohlman: That’s true yeah I just.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Want to use is paying for your highways.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah you’re right.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I’m always getting right.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah I did want to. Just a quick thing, cause I know that people are going to hear that me like drugs are bad. I’m like, Whoa! Oh, but. And we won’t get into the all the psychedelic stuff. I think that’s another conversation, another day. But so this, these interviews kind of part to question. This is the this is the fast part.

Dean Pohlman: And I ask these questions to everybody who jumps on the podcast and of course see what your answers are. So you ready? Bonus round or bonus round? That’s what this should be called. What do you think is one habit, belief or mindset that has helped you the most in terms of your overall happiness?

Adam Von Rothfelder: That things are happening for me, not to me.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Next one. What’s one thing you do for your health that you believe is overlooked or undervalued by others?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Balance.

Dean Pohlman: Balance training. Yeah. I got into Slack. I think I’m going to hook it up to a I don’t have trees and I have to hook it up to a fence somehow.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Careful. You can literally bend fence posts with that. Oh, yeah, it’s wild, you know. I mean, like, so if you’re like a foot away from like the point of, like, you got to post and it’s a slack line, right? Yeah. Oh, when you’re like, standing right next to the slack line. In the slack line, it’s like, yeah, you’re £165.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like, whatever way you move ten feet away from the slack line, you now have £325. Hmm. You move into the middle of the slack line, you’re now like 700, £800 that are like being applied to that post. So I’ve, I’ve literally seen concrete like spiderweb with, like solid metal beams and the slack line attached to it. And concrete spider webbing from the stress cracks of like the metal just flexing from the it’s like right now it’s pretty, pretty, pretty wild.

Dean Pohlman: All right.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So there’s a same called a Gibbons board. Gibbons should pay me money just for talking about these things all the time. So there’s a Gibbons board and it looks like it’s about the size of a snowboard and it has a slack line across that’s like slung across the to nose the nose and you can like stand on and balance it like, tip it and do all these cool things that are really great for your balance.

Adam Von Rothfelder: You don’t need a slack line. You know, people you can you can use a two by four on the floor. There’s a lot of things that could elevate people’s balance that just nobody is doing.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, yeah. But Adam, think about how much core slack line looks.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Slack right? It is way fucking cooler. I just this the video today.

Dean Pohlman: I know I saw it.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I did one where I took my hoodie off and I put my hoodie back on while standing on the slack line. And it’s just like I like the idea of like, you know, taking off my hoodie and then, you know, putting it all back on while I’m balancing working on my vestibular reflex ocular vision.

Dean Pohlman: Super cool. All right. What’s the most what’s the most important activity you regularly do for your overall stress management?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Six.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. How often?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Like five times a week.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. I thought you going to say five times a day?

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mean, sometimes twice a day. I mean, it really depends. And my wife and I are both working from home that day.

Dean Pohlman: MM Well, good for you guys.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, totally. You’ve changed the sheets multiple times on one day before thinking it was the last like.

Dean Pohlman: Oh my God. All right. What’s the most stressful part of your day to day life?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Having sex every day. That was okay.

Dean Pohlman: It must be. Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: She expects it.

Dean Pohlman: Five times a day. It must be stressful. Yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah. No. What is my most stressful part of the day? And I fucking hate financial stuff. I just.

Dean Pohlman: Am.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Numbers and finance with, you know, strong coffee and I mean, we’re a multi, multimillion dollar business and there’s just a lot to, you know, processes like a small company. And I’m just a very I’m a creative, flowy person with like a, I have a very interesting strategic mind that is helped coffee get this far, you know, with very little, you know, resources.

Adam Von Rothfelder: But I do not like as I do not ever want to see a fucking spreadsheet ever.

Dean Pohlman: Do you have to have somebody look through numbers for you and analytics and all of that kind of.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah. I mean to be I know I do it, which sucks, you know, But like, starting very soon, I won’t be so. Mm hmm.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. All right. And last question. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing men and their wellbeing right now?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Um, emotions, I think, like, um, I think men need to, you know, be more focused on their emotional health. But I think before you can be emotionally healthy, you also have to look at your brain health. And depending on what your sleep is like, your alcohol intake, things like that. If your brain is not healthy, how can you have mental health?

Adam Von Rothfelder: And I think that that’s like a big thing that is constantly overlooked in the of emotional mental health is how healthy is your actual physical property Before we start talking about the software that exists within it. So how is your hardware?

Dean Pohlman: 2 minutes. 2 minutes. Go into that in a little bit more detail.

Adam Von Rothfelder: 2 minutes. All right. Yes. So People who tend to have lack of sleep will have certain hormones that are out of whack. Right. Of a minor serotonin. Say, if you drink alcohol, you’re going to affect your serotonin levels as well, because serotonin is created in the gut. So your gut bacteria is going to be off from all the alcohol.

Adam Von Rothfelder: If you eat sugars, it’s going to be off. There’s like all these different all these different things. So your brain is a physical piece of property. I mean, it’s a it’s a hardware, right? It’s a it’s a system of working pieces that revolve around the software in itself, which has emotional health as a part of the programing, you know, mental health, cognitive function.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Right. All these learning and languages. Right. That’s those are all softwares that are put into this physical piece. But if this physical piece is not healthy, if it is not hydrated, if it does not have the proper amount of fats, you know, and it’s in it for its nutrient needs, if it’s not creating acetylcholine, if it’s not, you know, if your blood brain barrier is all inflamed and none of your nutrients are getting into your fucking brain, well, then, like, how would you imagine that this thing is going to operate the right way?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Of course you’re going to be depressed. Of course will be tired. Of course you’re going to have manic states or bipolar or any one of those things. I classify myself as somebody who’s like, had ADHD. I eat a certain way and do a certain thing that nobody would classify me. That is if I took a fucking test right now, you know?

Adam Von Rothfelder: But it’s like that was a diagnosis I was given. But I altered my existence through bettering the health of my brain by you didn’t utilizing M.S. TS or, you know, low inflammatory foods or consuming adaptogens to reduce stress. Stress in itself can literally scar your brain. Sugar itself can literally scar your brain if your brain is scarred and the very surface of your brain has neurological signals and thoughts and memories and emotions on it, and you’re scarring your brain.

Adam Von Rothfelder: What do you think is going to happen to those things are going to get fucked up like a CD in the nineties that you think blowing on and licking is going to like fucking make it work? You know, it’s it’s like those like blowing that licking, that’s like where like the supplements in the eating come in and like you try to, you try to fix those things but like ultimately it’s just a daily it’s a daily, you know, mindset that you have to like take care of it.

Adam Von Rothfelder: So funny that it just goes so overlooked in the fitness world where everybody’s talking about their fucking biceps, their mobility, their flexibility, emotional health, because it’s like sexy because who does it, who doesn’t want to not be depressed or not have a friend kill themselves? And like, I get all that shit. But it’s like, why isn’t anybody actually talking about the fucking foods we eat and the lack of certain nutrients getting into the brain and so on and so forth of what we’re ingesting that could be actually affecting the ability to have emotional and mental health.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah, that’s a great point. All right. That was that was a 2 minutes. Well explained. Thank you for expanding on that. Well, I mean, Adam, I think this is a really this is a this is an awesome conversation. You’re a fascinating individual with a fascinating history. If we hang out in near future, I would like to make sure that there is a strong coffee on hand so that I am mentally able to keep up with your brain and or body is going because there’s a lot of energy coming from you.

Dean Pohlman: Man. Hopefully at that point I will have had a couple more naps and I won’t be waking up multiple times per night to to feed a screaming £7. But yeah, thanks for joining me on the Bedroom podcast. That was awesome.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Well, thank you very much for having me. And I. In closing, I let my kids nine and eight watch Strange Stranger Things. Yesterday they were begging me and I’m like, it was just it was just dad in the girls all day. Mom was working and I am like, Are you sure? I’m like, I’m telling you, you’re going to be scared.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I’m like, I don’t want to hear it. Go, Well, look, I’m scared at nighttime. So I go, Dad, we’re fine. So we binge watch Stranger Things. Cuddle up on the couch. Yeah, 8:00. I go to bed at night. Is hear this soft, whimpering of fear. I was up and down all night with two little scaredy girls, so I said, okay, man.

Dean Pohlman: Was this season one.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Season one? Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. Season one was scary.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, it was.

Dean Pohlman: It was scary. And to be fair to them, yeah.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Totally was. I mean, I’m blown away that they watched it. I even. I fell asleep on the couch for an hour. So I think I miss some of the scary parts that I’ve completely forgot where the are creature it is again.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. That, that. That’s scary. Yeah. And then I don’t want to. I don’t want to not mention strong coffee before before we finish. Can you, can you talk about strong coffee, the mission. And you know how people can learn more about it.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah. I mean I’ll, I’ll drop real quick. I mean strong coffee started all as a, you know a recipe I was making every morning blending brewing coffee I found incredible ingredients and was able to source, you know an incredible instant coffee and combine it with some awesome ingredients like grass-fed, collagen protein, healthy fats, and certain amino acids and organic nootropics and adaptogens that have very interesting studies when it comes to assisting brain health.

Adam Von Rothfelder: I mentioned a neural protein earlier with the spinal cord called BD and aspirin derived neurotrophic factors, which is a protein in the brain. That is actually what they measure when they look at correlate of study between Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease in other cultures. So BNF is, you know, this really important thing. Well in America RBD NF is like way lower than it so more like India.

Adam Von Rothfelder: And when you look at the likelihood of a neurodegenerative disease in India, it’s like way lower where you know, about 5 to 10% of their population versus us like around 55 to 60%. So the difference is, is their level of BD. NF So while our coffee has all the great proteins healthy and adaptogens and all these sexy things that we hear and marketing, it has this organic nutraceutical that is an extract of coffee.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Berry itself is actually clinically proven and trademarked to increase that neural protein in the brain by almost 200% per cup of coffee. So the equivalent of seeing a response of BD and to that level is like a multi hour walk and it would be like a high intense multi hour walk would provide the same level of increased BNF bd NF is affected by movement and nutrient density for nutrient dense foods.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Wow. Well.

Dean Pohlman: How does it how does it work? I mean, how does it work? Is it is it a how does it how is it consumed? What is it like? How do you make it so strong?

Adam Von Rothfelder: Coffee is 100% instant, right? So you just put out you take a scoop or a packet of our formula, you throw it in a mug, pour some hot water over and stir it for a couple of seconds and you’re out the door. You know, it has 15 grams of protein, five grams of coconut derived fats. It’s not all M.S. teas, So it’s easier on the it’s easy on the stomach.

Adam Von Rothfelder: It has fiber in it. So it’s great for blood sugar. Wow. And for pooping. And then I can.

Dean Pohlman: I cannot overstate the importance of having nice daily poops. By the way, if you don’t have them, you should get them.

Adam Von Rothfelder: My I have multiple friends that tell me one of their biggest things beyond strong coffee tasting good being number one is to being how regular they’re pooping is since they started drinking it where they drink one cup of strong coffee or like a half a cup and they’re on the bathroom pooping everything out. And it’s just like a clean, clean break.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Then they’re like crushing the day. And it’s cool because the more comfort comfortable customers get with me, the more and more I hear that that’s like a top reason of what they love about. But, you know, it’s like you look at the type of fats that we’re putting in there and they help you with like gut function. So it makes sense that that plus the fiber that you would have really nice shirts.

Dean Pohlman: Can I. Can I. Oh, God. We can talk about this beforehand. Can we can get some special to to people in mental yoga world if they if they go get some strong coffee to try it out.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah. You tell me whatever the code will be and I’ll give everybody 15% off to.

Dean Pohlman: Man fro.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yoga man. So yoga I will make the code right. Meow. Yes. We’ll have a 15% off coupon for anybody that uses it.

Dean Pohlman: Nifty sweet. And and you guys social is highly entertaining so you guys should go follow your on. I’m assuming you’re on Tik tok, too.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah.

Dean Pohlman: Yeah. Okay. Ticktock Instagram all the.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Struggling coffee company.

Dean Pohlman: Cool. So go follow them. They’re funny. And. And yet Adam’s a beautiful human being, too. So you want to see him as well. So they’re sweet. Well, again, Adam, thanks again for joining me, man. I am. I’m inspired to actually try some of this strong coffee. I don’t think I’ve actually I’ve maybe I had it, like ten years ago or like eight years ago, whenever it was founded.

Dean Pohlman: But I don’t think I’ve.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Had I think you may have had it five years ago at Paleo.

Dean Pohlman: Facts. Okay. Five years ago.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, but with Barbell Shrugged. And I saw you for a little bit. That’s what I guess. Yes. Around the time, like you said in your book.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. All right. So it’s been a while. You’ve probably gone through some iterations of formula since then.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Yeah, for sure. I’ve reiterated our star, our star latte by 32, reiterations.

Dean Pohlman: Of our vanilla.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Latte, which is our number one selling product.

Dean Pohlman: Do you have non flavors, too, or is it like it’s all flavored ones? Do you have a base?

Adam Von Rothfelder: How latte, a vanilla latte and a honey lavender latte? And then we have a BlackBerry and then we have a black coffee with adaptogens and neutral.

Dean Pohlman: Okay. All right. I got to I’m going to I’m going to try to try a few of those. All right. So amazing. All right, man. Well, this is awesome. Thanks again for joining me on the Betterment podcast, guys. I hope this inspires you to be a better man and you guys should make sure you go check out Adam and Strong Coffee and all that he does.

Dean Pohlman: So thanks again. Oh, boom.

Adam Von Rothfelder: Appreciate you, man.


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